Concept design of the new McArthur bridge
Image: DOC

Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


A new 64-metre bridge is planned for the St James Cycle Trail, near Hanmer Springs, meaning the Great Ride will once again be ridable from Maling Pass to the St James Homestead.

Date:  27 April 2023

The 34-metre-long McArthur Bridge, near the halfway point of the 60 km loop, was removed after rockfall badly damaged the structure in July 2021.

While the track has remained open, the full trail is unable to be ridden point-to-point without the bridge, as it spanned a gorge and the river is unsafe to cross.

Funding has now been approved for a replacement, which will be positioned slightly downstream of the old bridge.

DOC North Canterbury Operations Manager Leeann Ellis says, all going well, it’s expected the bridge will be built and open by the end of the year.

“Detailed design work will start soon, and it’s hoped construction will begin in spring,” says Leann Ellis.

“We know the Hanmer Springs community and keen riders across the country have been waiting for the bridge to be replaced. It will be fantastic to see riders back out completing this iconic ride again in the near future.

“Until then, the shorter Homestead Loop is a great option to get a taste of what the St James offers.”

Hurunui Trails Trust St James Cycle Trail Manager Mark Inglis says the storm in July 2021 broke both the bridge and the trail experience that is the St James Cycle Trail.

“To know the trail will soon be zipped back together with the new McArthur Bridge is fantastic news for the riders queued up to experience the big country on our Great Ride,” says Mark.

Leeann Ellis says anyone planning to ride the St James Cycle Trail should check the DOC website before heading out, as the trail status and any updates will be there.

Background information

The St James Cycle Trail is one of 23 designated Great Rides of New Zealand/Ngā Haerenga, chosen because they showcase some of New Zealand’s most outstanding landscapes and places.

The St James Cycle Trail is managed by the Hurunui Trails Trust in partnership with DOC, which owns and is responsible for infrastructure such as bridges on the trail.

Before the bridge was damaged, about 1400 people rode the full trail annually, and about 2700 people rode part of the track.

The trail was established in 2009.


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